Challenge Success Elementary School Introduction

Building upon the work that La Canada High School and La Canada Middle School began in the 2016-17 school year, this video introduction by Jim Cartnal shares the big ideas of Stanford University's Department of Education program called Challenge Success. Look for more announcements regarding evening presentations regarding the Challenge Success implementation at the elementary schools, as well as information regarding student wellness.

Principal's Message 2017-18

Dear LCE Friends and Families,

Welcome to La Cañada Elementary School! LCE has the proud distinction of being both a California Distinguished School and a National Blue Ribbon School. Our team is made up of outstanding teachers, support staff, paraprofessionals, office staff, food service providers, and custodians who work hard each and every day to ensure that LCE is the best place it can be for our students. 

At La Cañada Elementary School, we are dedicated to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of students. Our parents are active members in this process. We have a stellar PTA, and there are many opportunities to become involved. Our Educational Foundation allows us to keep our class sizes small and also provides students with programs that enrich our curriculum. This is truly a special place.
If you would like further information about La Cañada Elementary or would like to arrange for a tour of our campus, please feel free to contact me by phone at (818) 952-8350 or email. 
Emily Blaney

Collaboration Day Summary - March 24, 2017

TK/Kindergarten: The TK/K district wide teams met to further evaluate the ELA adoption materials. As a group, they compared aspects of all three Kinder ELA programs. All agreed that National Geographic’s Reach for Reading is the best choice for LCUSD Kindergarten. They continued their meeting discussing the implementation of the Fountas & Pinnell assessment program. They noted what has worked and what hasn’t worked, how testing is implemented at each site, how long testing takes, and how the results change instruction. They attended the district Fountas & Pinnell assessment implementation meeting with the K-1 teams. Plans were made on how to notify parents of assessment results and how information is shared with 1st grade. 

1st Grade: The 1st grade team met with the 2nd grade team and shared Google Apps projects and the possible use of Chromebooks for next year. They then went to the District Office and attended the K-1 Fountas and Pinnell Assessment Implementation Meeting. Both the 1st and 2nd grade teams chose Wonders as their #1 choice ELA adoption choice. Both the 1st and 2nd grade teams would be interested in sharing a cart of Chromebooks to begin using next year.

2nd Grade: LCE 2nd grade met with first grade to discuss if they would prefer some extra chromebooks or possibly iPads next year. First grade teachers shared their website with the second grade teachers The second grade team is excited to try this as a grade level next year. Mrs. Boayes shared how to use Shadow Puppet Edu to create videos that can be posted to Seesaw. English Language Arts pilot programs are still under discussion. The LCE Second Grade prefers Wonders. The teachers also discussed an upcoming field trip to Cabrillo Aquarium.

3rd Grade: Third grade teachers discussed and shared materials that they will be using to help prepare their students for the SBAC test. In addition, they discussed the ELA programs Wonders and Journeys. They also put together some math problems to use for math performance tasks. 

4th Grade: The 4th grade team delved back into the ELA adoption material components from Journeys and Wonders and reported out our preference to Mrs. Blaney.  They discussed and analyzed their Science Fair held on 3/30 making notes of changes they have in mind for next year.  Time was spent compiling and sharing literature book club topics for students in the last few months as well as preparing for their final core literature book.  They pulled together additional topics and graphic organizers for continual opinion writing development and practice essays.  Their last Math unit tests were prepared and pacing was discussed for the year-end.  Lastly, they discussed their social science collaborative group project that will be assigned in the next few weeks as well as utilizing their science docent to prepare materials for the NGSS units they have forthcoming.  A productive time!

5th Grade: The 5th grade team worked together to discuss student progress and intervention methods to assist students. They examined the ELA pilot and the pros and cons of the two textbook series. After discussion, they made their recommendation to send to Mrs. Blaney. They created writing rubrics and lesson plans for the upcoming weeks. 

6th Grade: The 6th grade team coordinated all of the end of the year activities and worked on our schedules for testing (when they would be switching blocks, etc.) Mrs. Morin and Mrs. Fungo also planned out the remainder of our ELA curriculum based on our testing schedule.

Special Education: Mrs. Stassel went to the District Office to meet with the TK teacher and a special education teacher to discuss progress for their students with IEPs. She met with the 5th grade teachers regarding an upcoming IEP and spoke with the LCE counselor multiple times regarding SBAC testing.

Physical Education: Physical Education teachers discussed Physical Fitness testing progress. The discussion included challenges at the various sites with facilities and testing knowledge. They did not feel all sites had adequate testing environments. Chris Henry did a great job helping with the testing and they appreciate his expertise in this area. He really improved the outcomes of testing in that area.

ELD: The elementary ELD teaching team, including the paraprofessionals, met to discuss end-of-the-year planning regarding iPad returns, filling the position of an upcoming retirement and summer CELDT testing. Monica Ratliff returns to LCE after spring break so they thanked Susie Sandrew for her work and gave her a warm send off with the hopes she can continue in some capacity at LCUSD next school year.

Library Specialists: The library specialists visited Once Upon a Time bookstore in Montrose to see and purchase new books pertaining to Easter, Spring, and diversity. They also purchased picture book biographies and nonfiction books. Great discussions took place.

Computer Specialists: Mrs. Brown worked with Mrs. DeBoer  giving the OLSAT Make-up test to third graders.


Challenge Success: Building Your Path Coming to LCHS on April 8th. Sign Up Today

Challenge Success: Building Your Path Coming to LCHS on April 8th. Sign Up Today

On Saturday, April 8th at LCHS, students grades 7-12 and alumni are gathering for the Challenge Success: Building Your Path event.  The goal of the day is for current and former LCHS students to see various professionals showcase their career and/or education paths with the overarching idea to challenge our traditionally narrow definitions of success. 

The day will begin with two short keynotes featuring Dr. Mark Urata of Children's’ Hospital and Chris Buck, animator and director. Then students will be able to choose three speaker sessions before having lunch. The speaker sessions will feature a variety of topics such as career pathway stories; life, education or career lessons learned; current career showcases, and potential how-to talks, all within the big idea of expanding our definition of success.

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Collaboration Day Summary - Feb. 16, 2017

TK/Kindergarten: TK/Kindergarten teachers did not have a collaboration day scheduled for this day and were on regular schedule.

1st Grade: 1st grade teachers met to discuss students’ progress on the F&P tests and took a look at MobyMax as a resource for meeting the needs of students who need additional support, but do not have access to Reading Intervention. They looked at report cards and established which areas would receive NAs for the 2nd trimester. Finally, they discussed this year’s Animal Research Reports.

2nd Grade: Second grade teachers discussed the Wonders ELA reading program that they have been piloting. They have liked how the assessments focus on the skill taught while using different passages for the students to work on and apply the skills being taught. It is also good that it has a free response comparing the two texts.  The vocabulary is listed in the book with pictures and sentences using clues to find what the word means. This is also very helpful for ELL students. There are also a lot of online resources that can be used for homework. The team also discussed report cards and which areas that were focused on for the 2nd Trimester. They planned research projects for the third trimester such as the Family Tree project.

3rd Grade: The third grade team spent the Collaboration Day discussing ELA adoption and planning, the music curriculum, the OLSAT testing schedule, and social studies curriculum for our upcoming field trip.

4th Grade: Pacing, Mathematics, California Journeys Pilot and 2017-2018 Supply Lists were among the topics of collaboration with the 4th grade team.

The teachers checked in on their academic pacing to fin that they have all started their third core literature book, By the Great Horn Spoon, and are digging their way towards the Gold Rush fever.  Science questions are sizzling as students fine-tune theirs for the 4th Grade Fair slated for March.  The teachers discussed these student generated questions, parameters and timing. Hypothesis research is next on their agenda.

Mrs. Hopkins has been recently cracked the California Journeys books for one of their pilots and found the literature quite inviting. Mrs.  Fuelling spent time analyzing this program as well.  Their feelings are as follows: The vocabulary is introduced at the beginning of each story and modeled in a passage rich in sophistication similar to the genre of the main story.  Each story is paired with a piece of text following the story from a different genre, in most cases, and designed to be compared with the main passage. First read guided questions were well-designed and included a variety of DOK levels. A few elements could be changed to make this program more user-friendly, but all-in-all the stories for 4th grades were high interest.  More to come as Fuelling tests the waters in her own room...

Lastly, the teachers finalized their 2017-2018 4th Grade supply list in School-Pak as requested, copied and pasted the shopping cart items onto Google documents, and emailed them to Jamie Do.

5th Grade: Together, the 5th grade team met to discuss student progress with Mrs. Blaney. They talked about their Valley Forge and Adventure Week journals and created a grading rubric. Additionally, they shared PPT presentations and coordinating activities in Social Studies. They discussed the Wonders Pilot Spelling component that was shared with them by Karen Gilmour.  

6th Grade: The sixth grade team collaborated on report card citizenship and speaking and listening grades.  They also discussed the use of their language arts piloting program, CA Collections, and planned for future use of the series over the next few weeks.  A document was created and shared, so further reflection could be added over time.

Special Education: Mrs. Stassel met with different grade levels to monitor student progress.

Physical Education: Mrs. Hayos worked on assessments and state testing materials.

ELD: The elementary ELD teachers met with the director for a Trimester 2 debriefing.  The director reviewed yearly LCAP goals for ELD.  A date for the next ELAC meeting was selected and tentatively calendared.  The director informed the team of ELPAC pilot testing this spring, a calendar of dates will be forthcoming. The team will conduct a parent iPad survey in May at the iPad return meeting to be scheduled.  An ELD newsletter will be published by March 1 to include upcoming dates and to introduce new staff members.  The director shared the English Learner Progress Indicator of the new CA Accountability Model and accompanying performance data.  ELD teachers will share this detailed information with their principals to enhance targeted instruction in general ed and also by ELD specialists.  The department would like to recognize those students who have met the reclassification criteria to exit the ELD program.  A date and venue has yet to be decided. It was decided that CELDT testing will take place during the summer, and at the beginning of the school year as is traditional in La Canada.  CELDT dates are forthcoming.

Library Specialists: The library specialists discussed what they were doing for St. Patrick’s Day with the students as well as any new books they acquired since their last collaboration meeting. They also made plans for their next visit to the Once Upon a Time bookstore.

Computer Specialists: The computer specialists created a lesson for the students to use to design a 3D backpack tag. There were some bugs that had to be remedied before the students could be successful.

Collaboration Day Summary Jan. 27, 2017

TK/Kindergarten: TK/Kindergarten teachers did not have a collaboration day scheduled for this day and were on regular schedule.

1st Grade: The 1st grade team met to finish creating exit tickets for units 4 and 5 in Math. They also met with the first grade teams from PCR and PCY to discuss the implementation of Fountas and Pinnell in advance of their March collaboration day meeting with Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Anais Wenn.

2nd Grade: Second grade teachers from LCE met and discussed projects and activities for February. They looked over the Everyday Math games for Unit 6 and 7 and worked on organizing math games so they are more accessible and ready to use. They met with Mrs. Blaney to look at the proposed site master plan for La Canada Elementary.

3rd Grade: The third grade team spent the afternoon preparing for their Recorder Karate Music program. The team also discussed how the different English Language Arts Curricula Pilots have been going so far and made plans for the coming weeks.

4th Grade: The LCE 4th grade walked through the facilities future plan blueprints with Mrs. Blaney.  They also calendared their upcoming Science Fair. Fourth graders will begin the scientific investigation process on February 10th with the entire grade Science Fair culminating on March 23rd in the cafeteria. The team created an historical book report rubric to reflect a new Google slides book report format, and they discussed revamping their April Gold Rush Day activities.

5th Grade: The 5th grade teachers diligently worked together to complete several student recommendations, student assessments and evaluations, along with parent conferences. They discussed their plans for the upcoming school week and planning for Valley Forge/Adventure week trips. They team also met with Mrs. Blaney to look at the first draft of the LCE facilities architects’ drawings. 

6th Grade: Miss Patito met with Mrs. Warner (7th grade) to coordinate science curriculum. Mrs. Redecker and Mrs. Morin met to address parent and student issues. Mrs. Fungo coordinated with Miss Patito regarding classroom management ideas.

Special Education: Mrs. Stassel’s collaboration day consisted of planning a program for two new students to special education. Angela Deno, Speech and Language Pathologist, and a third grade teacher were instrumental in this process.

Physical Education: The elementary Physical Education teachers discussed the State Physical Fitness testing and implementation process for the 5th grade. We also discussed the need for PE Aide substitutes as safety is of major concern and the lack of facilities to accommodate the number of students.  Lesson plans are drastically affected when no qualified aide is provided. All hands on deck are needed when the State Physical Fitness testing at the 5th grade level begins. 
The facility improvements were discussed with hopes that the new funding will help ensure that all students are receiving the quality Physical Education at the elementary level.

ELD: Due to mid-year staff changes, the three ELD teachers met to ensure program quality and parity among the three schools. They reviewed the currently available support resources, including the Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment program for identifying specific reading challenges. They also looked in depth at the Wordly Wise vocabulary enrichment program, and the Words Their Way for English Learners phonics program. Discussion included how to effectively use these resources and other supplementary materials to increase English proficiency.  
Library Specialists: The Library Specialists shared new books to honor Black History Month and talked about plans for Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Dental Health Month, and Chinese New Year. 

Computer Specialists: The Computer Specialist met at PCR to discuss their concerns with Project Ignite 3D printing and to came up with solutions. They  had a chance to have Jeanine Bentz answer questions about students building the EV3 and decided that they would have grades 3-6 use them after they are built. They discussed the computer programs at the elementary schools and problem solved the issues.

LCE Collaboration Day Summary December 22nd, 2016

Collaboration Day Logo

TK/Kindergarten: The TK and Kindergarten teachers did not have a collaboration day on this date.

1st Grade: 1st grade teachers debriefed on how their Grinch Day activities went and noted adjustments needed for next year. They also discussed beginning steps for implementing science notebooks and made a plan for dividing ELA pilot materials amongst the classrooms.

2nd Grade: PCY, LCE, and PCR Second grade teachers met to discuss the ELA Programs, Journeys and Wonders. PCR piloted the two programs that week. They discussed some of the strengths and weaknesses of both programs. Some LCE teachers will be piloting the programs upon their return from break. 

3rd Grade: Third grade teachers spent the afternoon organizing new materials and planning for their ELA pilot. Half of the team will begin with Wonders while the other half will begin with Journeys. The team will then exchange materials.

4th Grade: The LCE 4th grade teachers reevaluated their pacing in several subject areas.  They choose to move the 4th grade Science Fair date to before Spring Break to allow meaningful time to explore additional STEM/STEAM activities that can provide jumping off points for student-centered Science questions. They will create a Science Notebook to support this project.  In addition, they firmed up their mission report research and California Project. Fourth grade classes recently completed a ten paragraph account of their Time Capsule field trip, and grading of these writings was discussed so as to be consistent.

5th Grade: The 5th grade teachers discussed student progress and strategies on working with struggling students. They met with Mrs. Stassel to check in on students with IEP's. Additionally, they looked at the pacing of Journey's, an ELA program that is currently being piloted. They coordinated upcoming social studies projects and made additional plans for Valley Forge. Mrs. Drange looked at the upcoming plans for pacing in math.

6th Grade: The 6th grade team met to debrief the Pali Mountain trip and discussed creating a timeline to prepare and coordinate the trip. They also met to discuss upcoming activities for the 6th grade.

PE: The PE teachers from all three elementary schools discussed age-appropriate PE activities to implement on rainy days.

Library Specialists: The Library specialists shared nonfiction texts and fictional stories about India since there are many new Indian families in the district. They made plans for the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day and discussed read alouds and book displays. They also shared the best read aloud that they used since their last collaboration day.

Computer Specialist: The Computer specialists discussed 3D printing and the lessons for the EV3's (robotics). Mrs. Brown also worked on lessons for the Wonder app that goes along with Dash (LCE has 10 Dash and Dot robots).

ELD: The ELD paraprofessionals and teachers met together to discuss program delivery pending an upcoming leave of absence and retirement. They strategized next steps, identified training roles and administrative support needed for the new staff. They also took the opportunity to celebrate their first semester successes and give a temporary farewell to one of their colleagues. 

LCUSD Welcomes Stanford's Dr. Denise Pope

Dear LCUSD Community,

 Seal of La Cañada Unified School District

On January 17th I am excited to welcome Dr. Denise Pope, co-founder of Stanford University's Challenge Success program, to LCUSD to present research and information on the Challenge Success Program.

As you likely know, both LCHS 7/8 and LCHS 9-12 had applications approved to partner in 2016-17 with Stanford University's Challenge Success program. Challenge Success has for the past 12 years worked with over 130 high performing middle and high schools on how to implement policies and practices which increase academic engagement and wellbeing for their students.

Challenge Success is a research based program whose data compellingly demonstrates that, especially in high performing schools, a narrow definition of success often leaves young people lacking the skills they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.  The work Challenge Success engages in with partner schools encourages educators and communities to create school programs which value and foster in their students the interpersonal and collaborative skills, adaptability and resiliency, and the critical thinking and creativity needed to solve complex problems.

The January 17th Challenge Success presentation by Dr. Pope is one not to be missed.  We are anticipating a full-house and are asking that attendees RSVP.

Parents 7-12, Elementary Parents, all LCUSD staff and interested students in grades 9-12 are invited to attend.  The program will begin promptly at 6:30 P.M. in the LCHS Auditorium.

I hope to see you there.

  Superintendent Wendy Sinette

Wendy Sinnette
LCUSD Superintendent

Event Details
Date: January 17th
Time: 6:30pm
Location: La Canada High School Auditorium

LCE Collaboration Day Summary November 18th, 2016

First Grade:  The 1st grade met to begin planning their Grinch Day Holiday activities and began looking at upcoming Everyday Math Units in order to develop exit tickets.  They created shared folders in Google Drive and began drafting a series of exit tickets for their measurement unit. They will continue this work during upcoming collaboration days with the goal of completing Exit Tickets for each lesson in 2 units of EDM.

Second Grade:  Second Grade met and worked on developing an iPad Task Card for the students’ country reports. The students have been assigned a heritage doll project. All of the second grades will be using Explain Everything or Book Creator to do a country report in class. The teachers also discussed logistics, props, and costumes for their December 20th Music Performance. They confirmed their schedules for the Natural History Museum field trip on December 7th as well as the day they make gingerbread houses.

Third Grade:  Third Grade spent the afternoon reviewing English Language Arts Curricula. The team has planned to pilot a unit for each series. This will begin after winter break.

Fourth Grade:  The 4th grade teachers met to revamp their second trimester historical fiction book report.  They decided to change the end product so as to obtain further reading depth from our students. In addition, all teachers felt a need to change the 4th grade mission report and are in the beginning stages of formulating a California History Project that will give a snapshot of California through its eras of change with collaborative and individual components. In addition, each teacher put together their ime Capsule cabins and day groups an organized notebooks and journals for the trip.

Fifth Grade:  The Fifth Grade team discussed the MobyMax program and how to utilize it with their students. They discussed the Science curriculum and their use of a Science notebook. They also planned out the remaining field trips for Adventure Week, which occurs in February as an alternate experience to Valley Forge.

Sixth Grade:  The sixth grade team plus Mrs. Burns met to plan out Pali Mountain cabin groups, activity groups, and coordinate the details of the upcoming trip.

PE:  The PE teachers reviewed how they grade students as well as shared about feedback they received from parents about how they grade in PE. They discussed the need for PE staff to have a safe place to store personal belongings. They also discussed the challenges of best utilizing the PE aides, and how they can train them more efficiently. With winter coming, they also brainstormed ideas for rainy day PE.

Special Education:  Mrs. Stassel attended a Google training with many other special education staff from the district’s other schools.

ELD:  The elementary ELD teachers met with the director, Lindi Dreibelbis, to finalize the revised reclassification criteria. They invited Carrie Hetzel to provide more in-depth information regarding appropriate grade level cutpoints especially related to the District Writing Assessment and the new Fountas and Pinnell reading assessments. The finalized recommendations will be presented to the elementary principals and submitted to the Governing Board for approval. They also discussed some successful iPad apps for newcomers at the upper elementary grades.

Library Specialists:  The library specialists discussed strategies for recommending books to students. Mrs. Bahrami explained LCE’s 6th Grade “Reading to Classes” program. They shared new books about Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month as well as books about the winter holidays.

Computer Specialists:  The computer specialists met at PCY with the representative from MakerBot. He explained the history of 3D printing and helped PCY set up their printer. He had several samples of things that were printed on the MakerBot printer.


LCE Collaboration Day Summary October 28th, 2016

First Grade:  The 1st grade team met to review report and finalize plans for their upcoming Wild Things parade. They then headed to the District Office to hear presentations on potential ELA pilot curriculum and discuss the implementation of the upcoming ELA pilot.

Second Grade:  K -6th went to the District Office to listen to presentations for the ELA Adoptions. They heard from McGraw Hill Education’s Journeys Program as well as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
All Grade Level leaders will be picking up kits to have at their site as well as technology codes to use.

Third Grade:  K -6th went to the District Office to listen to presentations for the ELA Adoptions. They heard from McGraw Hill Education’s Journeys Program as well as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
All Grade Level leaders will be picking up kits to have at their site as well as technology codes to use.

Fourth Grade:  K -6th went to the District Office to listen to presentations for the ELA Adoptions. They heard from McGraw Hill Education’s Journeys Program as well as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
All Grade Level leaders will be picking up kits to have at their site as well as technology codes to use.

Fifth Grade:  K -6th went to the District Office to listen to presentations for the ELA Adoptions. They heard from McGraw Hill Education’s Journeys Program as well as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
All Grade Level leaders will be picking up kits to have at their site as well as technology codes to use.

Sixth Grade:  Sixth grade science and math teachers met to research materials for the implementation of the NGSS, review students’ progress using the Math in Focus program and collaborated on ways to support students struggling in mathematics.  The team also discussed the progress of the implementation of the science notebooks.

Sixth grade ELA teachers attended the publisher presentations at the district office.

PE:  Physical Education focused on activities and methodologies for the various grade levels. Time was spent on assessments.

Special Education:  The RSP teacher met with her RSP partner to discuss various special education issues. The most important topic discussed with how to implement Response to Intervention (RTI) strategies with students who have not, or possibly will not qualify for special education.

ELD:  The three elementary ELD teachers met with the director.  They discussed the updating of the reclassification criteria. More information is needed to determine inclusion of DWA scores and Fountas and Pinnell data.  A meeting will be arranged to gain more expertise with Fountas and Pinnell.  A variety of successful supplemental materials were reviewed and considered for re-purchase this year.  Pass/fail grading policies for students at CELDT level 1 or 2 in grade levels 3-6 should be decided as a team with parents involved on an individual basis.

Library Specialists:  The library specialists met to read and report on new books. They discussed new holiday books, what they are planning for the election, and they discussed some of the character actions in children’s books.

Computer Specialists:  The computer specialists met at PCY and organized the lab. They discussed the 3D printer lessons that they are going to cover and the Google CS First lessons.  It was decided to have the rep from MakerBot printers meet with them on the next Collaboration day in November.



La Canada Kiwanis Club Honors Terrific Kids

La Canada Kiwanis Club Honors Terrific Kids

Throughout the year, Kiwanis Clubs all over the world honor students who have been chosen by teachers and classmates to be Terrific Kids. Many students are surprised to discover that they have been chosen, because it is not the kind of award that a person sets out to earn, rather it is an award that celebrates genuine kindness  and helpfulness, especially when they are selfless. 

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